The council plans to encourage staff to gain the European computer driving licence qualification and will replace many user-facing aspects of technical support with self-service and web-based logging of events.
John Edwards, Surrey Council's head of technical services, said, "We benchmark ourselves against the upper quartile of business and are looking to drive down total cost of ownership by equivalent levels. We identified that 66% of our costs lie on the user side, so we are targeting that slice of the cake.
"We could save £5m if we did it properly but, realistically, not every user is as computer literate as we would like and we cannot force them to do the ECDL, though we do expect to be able to save £1m to £2m."
The ECDL is a British Computer Society initiative which gives users a grounding in basic IT concepts such as word processing, spreadsheets and databases. Major employers including the NHS, IBM and the Bank of England have adopted the ECDL in the UK.